Special Events

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Author to speak about the importance of listening to teens in crisis

For author Billie Travalini, being listened to, really listened to and heard, is the most important thing for teens and adults suffering from abuse. 5

She recalls an incident when she was a teenager spending time at a restaurant with her sister as they selected a song on the jukebox. Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, she was barely 80 pounds due to her illness. To others in the restaurant, she was a sickly girl, painfully thin and gaunt. Billie overheard one patron say to another, “She looks like a victim of Auschwitz.”

Devastated, Billie felt marginalized and ashamed until another patron in the restaurant caught her eye and gave her a warm smile. This moment impacted Billie greatly because for once in her young life she felt someone had empathy, understood how she felt in that moment, and took the time to let her know she was OK.

As an abused child dealing with health issues, Billie spent most of her childhood in foster homes and, after a brief stint living with her birth parents, at 12, she was sent to live in Delaware’s Governor Bacon Health Center, which from 1948-1983, housed children ages 4 to 16, with cerebral palsy, and other chronic physical disorders, and emotionally disturbed, abused, neglected and dependent children. These experiences are the basis of her memoir, “Blood Sisters,” and its sequel “Sunshine” (projected publication date 2016) in which she writes about her troubled youth and the bond with her sister.

Billie said she hopes to impart to those attending the YWCA Lancaster Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) events in April that victims of abuse need to feel that no matter what the situation is, having someone take the time to listen and believe in you can make all the difference.

“In my experience, teaching creative writing at detention homes, I have heard over and over again from teens that they just wanted to be heard,” she said. “To have their voice matter.”

“If you want to reduce substance abuse, reduce sexual violence, reduce abuse of any kind… we have to become a society where people feel they have worth. Healthy people do not abuse. My father was not healthy and he was abusive. People who feel powerless abuse. But people who feel they have power.. feel they have a voice…seldom abuse.”

To hear Billie’s powerful story and message, she will appear at YWCA Lancaster, 110 N. Lime St., Lancaster, on:
April 14 – Take Back the Night (TBTN) at 7:30 p.m.
April 15 – Family Violence Resource Network (FVRN). A continental breakfast will be served at 9:30 and Billie will speak at 10 a.m.

Special Events in April to support YWCA Lancaster Sexual Assault Prevention & Counseling Center

March 7 – SAPCC will be the beneficiary of the Dutchland Derby Rollers Bout located at Overlook Roller Skating Rink. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

March 17 – May 5 – Support Group – For Adult Female Survivors of Sexual Abuse (age 20-40), Location: Millersville University

April 14, 7:30 p.m. – Take Back the Night – Speaker: Billie Travalini, Author of Blood Sisters: A Memoir, Location: YWCA 110 N. Lime St., Lancaster

April 15, 9:30 a.m. – Family Violence Resource Network meeting & Continental Breakfast – same speaker as above, Location: YWCA 110 N. Lime St., Lancaster

April 8 – Rachels Creperie fundraiser

April 22 –  Isaac’s fundraiser

 

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